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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

How To Have A Fourth Of July Parade During A Pandemic

Fred Haaser
Courtesy of Montgomery
2019 Fourth of July Parade Diversity and Inclusion Committee members Alfonso Cornejo (left) and Benny Miles.

The city of Montgomery isn't letting COVID-19 steal all its summer fun. Fourth of July parade organizers are turning the annual event upside down this year.

Recreation Director Julie Machon says the city is looking for applicants for its Reverse Independence Day Parade.

"It's a twist on our parade where the units are stationary in a parking lot at Sycamore High School and the motorists drive through it to observe the parade," Machon explains, adding the idea was "just a brainstorm we had here."

At least 30 groups have already applied to participate, including swim teams, the Sister Cities commission, and various car and antique auto groups. The application deadline is Wednesday, June 17.

The parade committee is looking for entries that celebrate Montgomery, "hometown Americana" and the patriotic spirit.

While the concept hasn't been done here before, Machon thinks it should go smoothly and it won't take people too long to drive through the parade. The plan is to use part of the parking area to stage cars in long rows to minimize traffic backups on Cornell and surrounding roads. City employees and volunteers will help with traffic control and safety.

The parade has been going on for decades. Machon estimates it usually draws thousands of spectators along the route with about 70 parade entrants.

"We're going to make it fun, decorative, patriotic... we want that feeling of community pride and memories because our parade was such a tradition and we want them to see that and feel that when they go through. It's something healthy for our community."

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.